The future is now!

On December 1st, 2002, I received the following wake-up call in the form of an email from Sripad Bhakti Sudhir Goswami Maharaj. The subject of the email, "The future is now!" struck a chord deep within me, revolutionizing my consciousness. I little knew at the time just how dramatically this email was going to change my life...

Date: December 1st, 2002

Subject: The future is now!

Dear Lalita Charan Prabhu,

My dandabat pranam.

I regret that we did not get to spend some time together on my recent visit to Soquel. It would have been good if you could have stayed with me for the week or so you suggested. There are many things for us to discuss, for many new things have come.

I am thinking that it would be best if you could somehow come to India. I should be here at least until January 21. This is the proper environment for such discussions to take place. Otherwise, I'll be happy to meet with you when I return. But we must set aside some time.

With much affection,

Bhakti Sudhir Goswami


After experiencing what can only be described as an epiphany, I was filled with wonder at the brief glimpse of my soul (ascarya-vat pasyati kascid enam). For twenty-four hours I meditated deeply on Goswami Maharaj's message, diving deep into reality, "seeing things as they are" (pasyati sa pasyati) — then I sent this reply:

Date: December 2nd, 2002

Subject: Re: The future is now!

Dandavat Maharaj,

I got your message — the future is now!

Immediately so many objections sprang into my mind: "I can't go to India now! I have so many responsibilities..."

But all through the night, and on my way to work in the morning, your admonition reverberated in my brain: "The future is now!"

No, no, no! What is this sarva-dharman parityajya? What about sva-dharme nidhanam sreyah?!

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur came to whisper encouragement:

Forget the past that sleeps and ne'er
The future dream at all,
But act in time that are with thee
And progress thee shall call.

And I caught a glimpse of Longfellow's departed footprints on the sands of time, and they gave me heart:

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act — act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!

The future is now!

So I called Sanatani didi as soon as I got to work, to see if she could get me a ticket to India. (She won't be able to get me a ticket this late into the peak season... At least I can tell Goswami Maharaj that I tried :-)

But she's all excited; she's arranging a ticket for Yudhamanyu Prabhu right now! And Yudhamanyu Prabhu says he asked Goswami Maharaj if there was anything Goswami Maharaj wanted him to bring to India, and Goswami Maharaj replied, "If it is at all possible, bring Lalita Charan..."

Yikes! Is there no escape?!?

One last try... "I'm going to India!" I announce dramatically that evening to my daughter, Lucille. "Bring me some incense," she says. Huh? "I'm going this Saturday!" I lie. "Good for you," she says. Say what? "You're not surprised?" She's not: "You keep saying you're bored with your work and life. This will be good for you. It's good timing — no time like the present." I'm desperate now: "I'm going to take sannyas!" Even that does not seem to perturb her. If anything, she's encouraging...

So I went to Kinko's at eight-o-clock this evening and got four passport photographs taken — two for an Indian visa, and two for a Russian visa. Sanatani will take my passport to San Francisco tomorrow to get me a visa for India, and I will probably have to wait a couple of weeks for the Russian visa.

Yudhamanyu Prabhu flies out on Saturday; I won't have all my papers in order in time to fly with him. My co-worker at Cisco is taking time off before Christmas, so Sanatani will try to get me out on Friday 27th (with Vidura and Radhi) unless you say to drop everything and come immediately.

If this arrangement is okay with you (and if I can get a ticket!) I should be able to spend at least three, possibly four weeks with you.

Thank you so much for thinking of me, for trying to help me, and for all your encouragement. The future is now!


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